“It Looks Like A Bazaar In Istanbul”: Without Police On The Street, Illegal Vendors And Gamblers Are Taking Over The Bronx
We’ll ask the same thing we asked days ago when it was reported that a man was shot at point blank range in Brooklyn: has Eric Adams been sworn in yet?
Because once again the lack of police on the streets is turning into a problem – this time in the Bronx, where illegal street vendors and gamblers “have taken over a commercial strip,” according to the New York Post. The takeover is a result of new city laws that make it impossible for the NYPD to confiscate goods or even demand ID from street vendors.
The new law went into effect in May 2021 and moved enforcement away from NYPD and to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection. Someone from the agency told the Post the law doesn’t even go into effect until September.
Marko Majic, head of business development for City Jeans on East Fordham Road, told the New York Post: “It looks like a bazaar in Istanbul. The only difference is in Istanbul it’s legal and organized and here it is illegal and unorganized.”
The Post reports there are now 242 sidewalk vendors, more than the 230 storefronts in the same area.
“They sell water, jewelry, masks, toys, counterfeit goods, anything you can imagine,” said Wilma Alonso, director of the Fordham Road Business Improvement District. She said they even play three card monte and called the situation a “public safety crisis”.
On June 5, there was an incident near the area with a vendor which resulted in a second vendor getting shot in the arm by a stray bullet.
Since January, there have been 311 complaints about illegal vending across the city, up 14% from the same period in 2019. The city appears to be doing very little about it.
“We were stunned to learn on a day when there were hundreds of unauthorized vendors, only [a few] summonses were issued,” Alonso said.
“Because of them we almost have no business,” one business owner told the Post. “These vendors, they have nothing to pay and they’re making much more money than us because everything goes to pocket. We have to pay taxes, we have to pay licenses, rent, other fees.”
Majic added: “Our customers want to come and shop in peace. They don’t want to fight to get in the store because outside someone occupies 50 percent of the space. The only time we had enforcement on Fordham Road was the riots. You can’t even call the police they don’t pick up.”
“The truth is, the City Council was very short-sighted thinking about the ramifications and the damage they would be doing to the business community,” Alonso concluded.
Sat, 07/24/2021 – 17:00